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Press Releases

NEC Prep Students Triumph at Fischoff Competition

May 10, 2005 | By Ellen Pfeifer
Public Relations Manager, New England Conservatory
The Alisier Trio (Emily Smith, violin; Jude Tedaldi, cello; Lee Dionne, piano), an ensemble from New England Conservatory’s Preparatory School, won the First Prize/Gold Medal in the Junior Division of the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition, May 9, at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.

Three other NEC Prep ensembles also placed in the Semi-Final and Quarter Final rounds. All are coached by clarinetist/conductor Jonathan Cohler, who reported that “NEC Prep had more groups represented in the Semi-Finals (two out of 12) than any other institution in the country.”

In the college level competition, NEC’s Parker String Quartet (Daniel Chong, violin; Karen Kim, violin; Jessica Bodner, viola; Kee-Hyun Kim, cello) made the Senior String semi-finals. That group won the Concert Artists Guild competition earlier this year.

The Prep Semi-Finalists were Trio B-natural (Yuga Cohler, oboe; Elzbieta Weyman, viola; Natalie Durham, piano) and the Animato Trio (Hillary Ditmars, violin; Sebastian Baverstam, cello; Jung A Bang, piano).

NEC’s Fulcrum Trio (Oren Ungerleider, violin; Tavi Ungerleider, cello; Robin Reinert, piano) was selected as one of 26 Quarter Finalists.

The Alisier Trio Emily Daggett Smith (violin, 18), a Newtonville resident, began studying violin at the age of six and since the age of seven, has played in chamber groups and orchestras at New England Conservatory’s Preparatory School. She studied violin with Magdalena Richter for five years and has been a student of Masuko Ushioda since 2003. She is Co-concertmaster of the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Zander. During winter vacation, Emily participated in the New York String Orchestra Seminar conducted by Jaime Laredo and played in two Carnegie Hall performances.

Emily has won first prizes in the Waltham Philharmonic Orchestra, the Lasker Young Soloist, and the Brockton Symphony Concerto Competitions as well as second prize in the Boston Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition. A senior at Walnut Hill School, Emily has played chamber music every summer for eight years at Greenwood Music Camp in Cummington, Massachusetts. She has been a member of the Alisier Trio for six years.

Newton resident Jude Tedaldi(cello ,17) is a senior at the Commonwealth School in Boston. He is also a member of Youth Philharmonic Orchestra and studies the cello at NEC with Mark Churchill. Jude will attend Columbia University and The Juilliard School in the fall.

Lee Dionne (piano, 16), from Ridgefield, CT, has been studying piano for over eleven years and has been playing chamber music for six of them. His early teachers were Mark Yachnin and Wilma Machover. With the latter, he studied theory and composition at the Hoff-Barthelson Music School in Scarsdale, NY, where he also worked with chamber music coaches Gerald Robbins and Donna Elaine. Lee currently attends Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, and is studying piano with Patricia Zander and chamber music with Jonathan Cohler and Peter Warsaw at NEC. Lee spends his summers at Greenwood Music Camp.

The Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition Joseph E. Fischoff and the South Bend Chamber Music Society founded the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition in 1973 as a way of encouraging young people to pursue chamber music study and performance.

Now in its 32nd year, the Competition has grown from six to 62 participating ensembles in wind and string categories. Contestants from approximately 22 different nations in South America, Asia, and Europe, take part each year. Fischoff is the only national chamber music competition with both senior and junior divisions (age 18 and younger) and is the largest.

The primary focus and distinguishing feature of the competition has always been education. Written comments and personal critiques from jurors help young emerging chamber musicians improve their interpretation and performances. Master classes are also offered to junior division quarterfinalist ensembles.

For more information, visit NEC on the web at


Recognized nationally and internationally as a leader among music schools, New England Conservatory offers rigorous training in an intimate, nurturing community to 750 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral music students from around the world. Its faculty of 225 boasts internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars. Its alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, and arts management positions worldwide. Nearly half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is composed of NEC trained musicians and faculty.

The oldest independent school of music in the United States, NEC was founded in 1867 by Eben Tourjee. Its curriculum is remarkable for its wide range of styles and traditions. On the college level, it features training in classical, jazz, Contemporary Improvisation, world and early music. Through its Preparatory School, School of Continuing Education, and Community Collaboration Programs, it provides training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students, adults, and seniors. Through its outreach projects, it allows young musicians to engage with non-traditional audiences in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes—thereby bringing pleasure to new listeners and enlarging the universe for classical music and jazz.

NEC presents more than 600 free concerts each year, many of them in Jordan Hall, its world- renowned, 100-year old, beautifully restored concert hall. These programs range from solo recitals to chamber music to orchestral programs to jazz and opera scenes. Every year, NEC’s opera studies department also presents two fully staged opera productions at the Cutler Majestic Theatre in Boston.

NEC is co-founder and educational partner of “From the Top,” a weekly radio program that celebrates outstanding young classical musicians from the entire country. With its broadcast home in Jordan Hall, the show is now carried by more than two hundred stations throughout the United States.




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